Have you ever watched the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or are you a big mixed martial arts fan?
Well, a lot of people are.
The popularity of mixed martial arts has really hammered its way into our culture when it comes to how people think about fighting, whether it’s as a sport or for self-defense.
The problem with the mixed martial arts approach to self-defense is not that the techniques don’t work.
They obviously do in MMA fights… but to make them work for you, you've got to be strong, healthy, and well-conditioned, like the guys you see fighting in MMA.
At the very least, you'd have to be stronger and better conditioned than your opponent in a street fight… right?
Well, where does that leave you if you're an “older” guy?
Are you just out of luck, doom to be victimized because you're “old”?
Not long ago I spoke again to famed martial arts expert Loren Christensen about self-defense for the over 40, over 50 crowd.
Here is what he had to tell me about surviving as an older person when self-defense is considered a younger guy's game.
Tips For Self-Defense Over Forty & Over Fifty
Now, you can tell yourself that you’re going to put in the time on the heavy bag, you’re going to eat right, you’ll do your sit-ups and push-ups like a good boy or girl, but sooner or later you’re going to start to get older.
I won’t use the word old, but many know exactly what it’s like to get older, right?!
As you get into your forties and fifties and beyond, hard hitting mixed martial arts systems start to look a little bit less like an option for self-defense.
Don’t think that the people around you don’t understand that, either.
There’s a stigma of being an easy target as you get older.
We know that criminals like to look at older people as weaker and an easy mark.
There are some things that can be done to project a “don’t screw with me” attitude to avoid being victimized, even though you don’t have that back alley biker brawler look.
Walk With Confidence
What does that mean when people say, “walk with confidence?”
I think a good example, regardless of what you may think of them, is to look at some of our politicians.
The older politicians all walk with this pronounced youthful gait, the good swing of the arms, their head up, they’re alert, they’re taking in everything around them, they’ve got a little bounce to their step.
It’s a put on, that’s for sure, but it’s very effective.
It has an effective look and conveys this sense of youth and ready to get the job done, that kind of stuff.
That’s the kind of thing you want to do.
When the doors are closed, these people probably collapse into their sofas.
Nonetheless, it does convey that look that you want to convey, so that the potential criminal out there eyeing a target is less likely to pick you and more likely to pick somebody else who doesn’t look as strong, aware and alert.
Walk In Pairs And Groups
The other thing is to walk in pairs and groups.
Most have heard of that.
There’s definitely power in that, even if you’re 80 years old.
Two people walking together can add more confusion to an assault or a robbery by a bad guy.
He has two people to watch, two of whom probably have cell phones and can call the police, or they can go in opposite directions, leaving the bad guy to be more easily identified.
Walk in pairs.
Walk in threes if you can, whenever you get that option.
Focus On Awareness
The older you are, the more wisdom you’ve accrued over the years.
Throughout the years, you’ve probably been in situations—whether you were law enforcement, or you’ve been in the military or even just as you get older, the more aware of your surroundings you become, because you maybe look to try to avoid tripping over things more.
Your awareness does get heightened out of necessity.
It’s just a matter of using that wisdom and that sixth sense to really think about and be aware of where you are.
Don’t just look at it as “I might trip over that curb,” or “Oh there’s the stairs; I want to avoid those.”
Be aware of what else might be around the corner, in the parking lot or even of the dark spots of the parking lot.
Expand that wisdom and awareness to other areas outside you.
When you are already older, you know that your odds of going toe-to-toe with a younger, bigger, stronger person have already decreased, and to combat that, a lot of people are into weapons of some sort.
You may be a firearms person, or you may carry a knife.
That doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to get to it quick enough to be able to defend yourself, though.
That's what makes awareness so important.
All three of these things are important when it comes to protecting yourself as you age.
They're not the only things you can do, of course… but they're some of the better ones.
Start thinking now… because, sooner or later (if we're lucky), we ALL get older.
(And that's a good problem to have.)